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Retiring in one's 30s? Is that really RE or abondoning job/career/work life/more?
Old 08-15-2014, 11:11 AM   #1
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Retiring in one's 30s? Is that really RE or abondoning job/career/work life/more?

I've seen posts by REs who retired in their 30s. Every time I see one, I wonder if the person is entering RE or is he just running away from his job/career/work life/society? Anyone else wondered about this? What says you who retired in their 30s? What "really" made you quit work (or enter RE) so early in your life? Did RE last?

Questions not meant for those who are a single income family where woman (or man) has full time job taking care of kids, home, etc. That's not RE in my book.
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Old 08-15-2014, 11:28 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by robnplunder View Post
I've seen posts by REs who retired in their 30s. Every time I see one, I wonder if the person is entering RE or is he just running away from his job/career/work life/society? Anyone else wondered about this? What says you who retired in their 30s? What "really" made you quit work (or enter RE) so early in your life? Did RE last?

Questions not meant for those who are a single income family where woman (or man) has full time job taking care of kids, home, etc. That's not RE in my book.
Running away?!?

How about, I had other things I really wanted to do once I felt quite secure in our financial independence (i.e. we no longer needed to work to earn a living).

Besides, I was only a few months from my 40th birthday, and it was 1999, so a major life change seemed apropos for the start of a new century.
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Old 08-15-2014, 11:48 AM   #3
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Ancestral/tribal studies show work took a couple hours a day, everyone participated to their ability.
The rest of the day was used to socialize, rest, play.... This of course varied from woo hoo during a salmon run to dagnabit it is winter time.

A look at more modern times:
History of Work Ethic
History of Work Ethic--1.Attitudes Toward Work During the Classical Period

Winning at 30 is not a bad place to be on the bell curve.
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Old 08-15-2014, 12:01 PM   #4
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I think if we had to do things over again we would have had a smaller house in a more middle class neighborhood, both gone into contracting and each worked half the year instead of going into management. I don't think we would have had enough money to retire in our 30s either way. I don't mind working part-time. I actually like the mental challenge. It is the rigid 8 - 5 schedules, the two weeks vacation, the sitting all day that isn't healthy, the 40+ hours of work plus commute and the not seeing the sun or getting out in nature except on weekends that bothered me.

Basically I would have leveraged our job skills for more leisure time instead of a big house and lots of stuff:

Keynes was, incredibly, right about the future. He was wrong about how we’d be spending it. - The Washington Post

"The question Keynes set out to solve was how humanity would adapt to a world of abundance. “He saw two options,” explains Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. “One was that we could consume ever more goods. Or we could enjoy more leisure. What worried Keynes was that when you looked at how people in the British upper classes spent their leisure, he was not overly enthralled with what he saw.” By and large, we have chosen door number one."
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Old 08-15-2014, 12:04 PM   #5
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Ancestral/tribal studies show work took a couple hours a day, everyone participated to their ability.
The rest of the day was used to socialize, rest, play.... This of course varied from woo hoo during a salmon run to dagnabit it is winter time.

A look at more modern times:
History of Work Ethic
History of Work Ethic--1.Attitudes Toward Work During the Classical Period

Winning at 30 is not a bad place to be on the bell curve.
Juliet Schor, author of The Overworked American, says we work more than medieval serfs:

Why a medieval peasant got more vacation time than you | The Great Debate
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Old 08-15-2014, 12:38 PM   #6
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I remember making a lot of money one day (back in 1987) and deciding not to go into the office the next day and it eventually just became a habit. 27 years later and I don't even remember where on Wall St. the office even was!
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Old 08-15-2014, 01:18 PM   #7
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Juliet Schor, author of The Overworked American, says we work more than medieval serfs:

Why a medieval peasant got more vacation time than you | The Great Debate
And I'm pretty sure the peasants didn't have to check their mail hourly, or maintain phone contact with the main office. Management/labor relations were so much simpler back then.

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Old 08-15-2014, 01:22 PM   #8
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Hmm. This work ethic thing is then a modern day invention. I have been duped.
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Old 08-15-2014, 01:55 PM   #9
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I don't see any difference between retiring at 35 or 55. At 55, you still have at least 10 good years before full retirement age. Why waste them on retirement? What are you running from?
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Old 08-15-2014, 03:05 PM   #10
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I can see how leaving a job while young might be viewed as running away from work/career. But how could it ever be construed as running away from life or society unless you believe there is no life outside of work, and no society except through work?
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Old 08-15-2014, 03:26 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by robnplunder View Post
I've seen posts by REs who retired in their 30s. Every time I see one, I wonder if the person is entering RE or is he just running away from his job/career/work life/society? Anyone else wondered about this? What says you who retired in their 30s? What "really" made you quit work (or enter RE) so early in your life? Did RE last?

Questions not meant for those who are a single income family where woman (or man) has full time job taking care of kids, home, etc. That's not RE in my book.
I have a friend who's husband made it big when his startup was sold. He chose not to go back to work. He was 35. That doesn't mean he was running away from his job/career/work/life/society. He'd cashed out and now could spend his time doing what he wanted. My friend continued to work - but retired a year or two ago, herself - in her late 40's. They have no kids, have a small house in a great part of Berkeley... and find plenty to amuse themselves. They are active in various meetup groups, active in the arts communities, and big time foodies. How does that equate to running away.

I'm always surprised when I see a HUGE success (financially) then the person doesn't sit back and enjoy it - but instead goes to a lesser position - just to keep their hand in the game. Sanjay Jha - former CEO of Motorola Mobility is an example of this. He made well over $100M for a few years work - and got a big lump sum when Google bought MMI. Now he's working for a smaller chip company that few have heard of. I wonder why he doesn't just enjoy his time with his wife and kids. He's definitely not running away from work/job - but perhaps he's running away from his family...

I guess the counter question to make is:
"If you can afford to retire early and spend more time with your family, or pursuing your passions - why would you continue to work for money you don't need? Why are you running from your passions and family""
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Old 08-15-2014, 03:44 PM   #12
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Ancestral/tribal studies show work took a couple hours a day, everyone participated to their ability.
The rest of the day was used to socialize, rest, play.... This of course varied from woo hoo during a salmon run to dagnabit it is winter time.

A look at more modern times:
History of Work Ethic
History of Work Ethic--1.Attitudes Toward Work During the Classical Period

Winning at 30 is not a bad place to be on the bell curve.
It is still that way in much of the world.
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Old 08-15-2014, 03:55 PM   #13
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I guess the counter question to make is:
"If you can afford to retire early and spend more time with your family, or pursuing your passions - why would you continue to work for money you don't need? Why are you running from your passions and family""
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Old 08-15-2014, 03:56 PM   #14
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This is probably a wrong forum to ask b/c REs here are successful retirees by and large. But I wonder how many of those 30 something retirees outside of this forum eventually went back to work force (too bored, ran out of money, gained responsibility - married, children).

I've seen retirees (some of you may know/remember) who sold everything and went oversees to live on a small budget. How about those who packed up and went into wilderness to live? That's a form of RE or is it more than that? What about young homeless you on busy street with their hands out? Is that work or could we considered them RE'd. It's Friday at work and my mind is wondering ... can't wait until I go home. TGIF.
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Old 08-15-2014, 04:15 PM   #15
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This is probably a wrong forum to ask b/c REs here are successful retirees by and large. But I wonder how many of those 30 something retirees outside of this forum eventually went back to work force (too bored, ran out of money, gained responsibility - married, children).

I've seen retirees (some of you may know/remember) who sold everything and went oversees to live on a small budget. How about those who packed up and went into wilderness to live? That's a form of RE or is it more than that? What about young homeless you on busy street with their hands out? Is that work or could we considered them RE'd. It's Friday at work and my mind is wondering ... can't wait until I go home. TGIF.
This may be the wrong forum because people here either have a goal/plan of retiring early, or have already executed that plan.

Leaving the country to a low cost of living place doesn't strike me as running from society - in fact, in many cases, it's running to a much more crowded and bustling society.

I'm sorry if I'm picking on your question but your started out by wording early retirement as "abandoning" job/career/work/life.... which is a judgemental term. Now you are equating it with homelessness and panhandling. It kind of seems like anyone who pursues a different path, or has a different goal/lifestyle, you are looking down on them...

I fully admit I'm probably reading too much into your statements.
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Old 08-15-2014, 04:22 PM   #16
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This is probably a wrong forum to ask b/c REs here are successful retirees by It's Friday at work and my mind is wondering ... can't wait until I go home. TGIF.
Abandoning work for the weekend are you?
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Old 08-15-2014, 04:29 PM   #17
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This is probably a wrong forum to ask b/c REs here are successful retirees by and large. But I wonder how many of those 30 something retirees outside of this forum eventually went back to work force (too bored, ran out of money, gained responsibility - married, children).

I've seen retirees (some of you may know/remember) who sold everything and went oversees to live on a small budget. How about those who packed up and went into wilderness to live? That's a form of RE or is it more than that? What about young homeless you on busy street with their hands out? Is that work or could we considered them RE'd. It's Friday at work and my mind is wondering ... can't wait until I go home. TGIF.
The second part of your question is probably not going to find an answer here.

But I think that the first part is a valid question. I enjoy my leisurely life tremendously, but will I live that way for the next 40 or 50 years? Maybe, maybe not. I am already married, we have zero plan to have kids, but there could be increased financial responsibilities with regard to our parents. Running out of money is always a possibility (economic or geopolitical crises, big retirement mistakes, etc...). "Life events" like a divorce could also take a toll. And while I don't get bored easily, I like to shake things up every so often to keep it exciting. If an exciting opportunity comes along, be it w*rk-related, I am not going to turn it down just to keep my laminated "retired" badge. Personally, I think that these are challenges that all retirees face (My MIL got divorced at 64 and had to make some tough adjustments when she almost ran out of money at 67, including going back to work). So I accept the fact that things can change.
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Old 08-15-2014, 04:33 PM   #18
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I moved overseas to enjoy a NYC lifestyle at a far lower cost when you consider all factors. Skipping the financial crisis,tripling real estate prices,7-10% returns on CD's and beautiful young women were all icing on the cake.
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Old 08-15-2014, 04:39 PM   #19
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I fully admit I'm probably reading too much into your statements.
You are. I am just curious about the whole thing, that's all. No judgment on anyone intended (or stated, IMO).
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Old 08-15-2014, 04:41 PM   #20
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Abandoning work for the weekend are you?
Completely. Just killing time until I punch my timesheet on the clock.
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